Investigators seeking public’s assistance in identifying body found in lake

Authorities are seeking assistance from the public in identifying a body that was found in the Warinanco Park lake the weekend before last, Union County Police Chief Daniel Vaniska and acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park jointly announced Thursday.

The body was recovered from the lake near the border of Elizabeth and Roselle during the afternoon hours of Sunday, April 5, and as of Thursday, a joint investigation by the Union County Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Task Force had yet to produce a positive identification.

The recovered body is that of a black male in his late 30s or early 40s who stood approximately 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8 and weighed approximately 145 pounds. The body was recovered wearing green shorts, white long thermal underwear, and heavy brown wool socks, with no shirt or shoes evident.

An autopsy conducted by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed no scars or obvious signs of trauma to the body, and at this time the cause and manner of death are officially listed as undetermined pending additional investigation. The autopsy results appear to indicate that the body had been partially or fully submerged underwater for a period of two to three months, although it remains unclear how the man initially entered the lake.

Based on the autopsy findings, the man did not have any natural teeth and was a heavy smoker who also had a distinctive tattoo on the inside of his right forearm. The tattoo appears to depict a heart-shaped figure with a crooked banner extending across it (a photo of the tattoo is attached to this email).

Anyone with any information about the identity of this person is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271 or Union County Police Department Detective Manuel Corte at 908-358-7692.